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Deep Dive into Mayoral Candidate Matt Hullander & Hullco Businesses

A recent mailer was delivered throughout Hamilton County by a group called Chattanoogans for Responsible Government, which opened up more questions around Hullco companies and their business ethics under previous owners Matt and Bill Hullander. The company was sold to a new owner (article). Bill Hullander is the current Hamilton County Trustee. His son, Matt Hullander, is running for Mayor of Hamilton County. Both were owners of Hullco companies in the past. The mailer was sent to citizens of Hamilton County the week of April 20 and prompted our team of investigators to take a fresh look at the company and its previous owners, and report our findings through research of public records and interviews. It is up to the community to review these findings, come to its own conclusions concerning honesty, ethics and business acumen if these two individuals are to be be trusted with fiduciary responsibilities for the Hamilton County government. One is already in office and hopes soon to have his son take over the top position as county mayor.

Investigation Scope:

The investigation started with 100+ of Hullco’s own publicly listed customers then cross referenced with government records and worked backwards from there. Documentation is provided below for interested individuals or groups to validate/vet the findings. The intent of our investigation is to determine if all required filings, taxes, permits, laws, etc. were obtained/followed.



The investigation included the following areas of research:

  • Incorporation & Foreign Incorporations ( other states )

  • Business Licenses ( City / County )

  • Permits ( City / County )


Starting with the incorporations, we found Hullco companies performed work in the following states, which led investigators to search for articles of incorporation and foreign incorporation filings.


NOTE: There may be more locations that are not identified as this list only focused on the referenced customers and not the complete company list.

The following counties were discovered in the address list where work was performed which led investigators to research business licenses, permits, etc associated with the county.

  • Bledsoe County, TN

  • Bradley County, TN

  • Hamilton County, TN - View License NOTE: Bill Hullander is on the license and NOT Matt Hullander. The business was stated to be sold by Bill to Matt but on two different dates in separate articles. Once in 2007 (view) and then again in 2008 (view). Was the business ever really sold to Matt? There is no update to the license reflecting that fact that Matt Hullander is shown on online records. Last County Record on File:


  • Polk County, TN

  • Rhea County, TN

  • Marion County, TN

  • Walker County, GA

  • Dade County, GA

  • Floyd County, GA

  • Catoosa County, GA

  • Cherokee County, NC


City Licenses - Only licenses on public record discovered is for the City of Chattanooga and no others for the counties listed above.



The team contacted the Hamilton County building permits office. The investigators confirmed with multiple clerks that permits are required and should be obtained by the contractor for window replacements, door replacements or sun rooms separately or all grouped together in one permit.

The second question, is there a way to obtain a list for a specific contractor and all the permits with which the contractor is associated? This information could be cross-referenced with State of Tennessee corporate tax filings. The office stated they didn't have a way to pull the associated contractors and that permits are only able to be searched by property owner or address.

As a side note, the permits office does track the contractors on the paper permits, licenses, etc. but appears not to have it rendered as searchable in their digital systems.

Not being able to track/verify by contractor/job may potentially obscure a loss of millions of dollars in revenue if permits have not properly been filed for contractor work. This may be an oversight or due to budget constraints but it is a definite weakness in the country public records system. The other factor to consider is safety, for if permits are not appropriately filed and tracked, no inspection is complete and the job flies under the radar. We therefore request an investigation into the Hamilton County building permits office by State Code Enforcement.

The research highlights opportunities for criminal acts if a contractor charged a customer a price that included tax, county/city waste disposal fees and/or permits as part of the price and never paid fees to the government agencies, as this would constitute fraud for each count. The contractor is required to have the home owner sign an affidavit to pull the permits in Hamilton County, click here to view affidavit. If this was not done, the contractor is performing work without proper permits. For more information on the permit process click here.

If a contractor is not pulling all the proper permits and paying the tax, then the burden falls back on the taxpayers for property tax increases for the country's lost revenue.

The team reviewed the Hullco-referenced customer list against the Hamilton County permit database. Each address was verified for permits and tracked if the homeowner or the contractor pulled the permit for the work performed.

Only one property had a permit, obtained by the homeowner, and none found by the contractor in the search. The chart and spreadsheet are included.



Conclusion


We have concerns that only one permit was found along with a number of missing government filings. This may be an oversight, only Hullco and/or the various government agencies would be able to reconcile the differences. There are multiple inquiries out to government agencies for this confirmation. The investigation intended to clarify a limited number of questions but instead opened Pandora's box of questions around ownership/relationships of over 100+ properties in multiple counties, tax sales, third party partnership with shell companies and relationship to the Hamilton County Trustee's office. This drives more questions around potential self-serving interests and suggests further scrutiny to ensure public trust.

Appendix Public Hullco Reference List


Hullco_Reference_Customers
.csv
Download CSV • 5KB





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